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incentive vs. pain

I’ve taught a lot of people over the years about taking control of their financial situation, making a budget, getting out of debt, etc.

incentive vs. pain

Some of those people were successful at putting the knowledge they learned to good use and they changed their financial situation forever.  But others say to me “I’ve tried getting control of my money and getting out of debt, but I didn’t stick with it.

Why don’t they stick with it? Is it because they were lazy and unmotivated?  Probably not.  If they were lazy and unmotivated they would have never tried in the first place.

Was it because getting control of your finances is extremely difficult?  Maybe.  Getting out of debt isn’t always easy, it depends on the depth of the hole you have to dig yourself out of, but it’s not imposible by any means.

So why do so many people try and fail?  It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a long time.

Then it hit me as I was in church on a recent Wednesday night, and my pastor asked the question, “is your incentive greater than your pain?”

If you want to get control of your finances, you have to decide that the end result is worth the pain of change and the temporary sacrifices that it takes to gain control.

Your incentive has to be greater than your pain.


We Are Wired to Avoid Pain

As human beings, our nature is to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  We can all put up with a little nagging pain.  Some of us even put up with great amounts of it.  But like many of the dental patients I see every day, you might have a toothache for two days, or you might put up with it for six months, but the pain will eventually cause you to overcome any dental fears you may have and seek relief by taking action and getting the tooth treated, no matter what.


Pain Makes it Real

I often use another somewhat indelicate analogy of a toddler in potty training.  A toddler has no real incentive to get up from his play and go to the potty.  It’s easier to create a mess and remain in it than to get up and do something about it.

But eventually, remaining in that mess can cause a nasty diaper rash and maybe even a scolding from mommy, which causes little Johnny to rethink things.  His pain has given him an incentive to do better next time and learn a new habit that he’ll practice for the rest of his life.

Only when debt freedom becomes really real to you will you finally make it a priority.  Only when the pain of remaining in debt slavery is greater than the pain of changing habits and making temporary sacrifices, will you succeed in changing your life forever.

Question:  Have you tried getting out of debt before but didn’t quite follow through?  Leave a comment and tell me why you think you didn’t follow through.


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You Know What You Should Be Doing, What’s Holding You Back?


Celebration of Life Church


Ready to Get Serious About Getting Out of Debt?

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